Systematic assessment of acquisition and data-processing parameters in the suspect screening of veterinary drugs in archive matrices using LC-HRMS

Larissa J.M. Jansen*, Rosalie Nijssen, Yvette J.C. Bolck, Robin S. Wegh, Milou G.M. van de Schans, Bjorn J.A. Berendsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Monitoring strategies for veterinary drugs in products of animal origin are shifting towards a more risk-based approach. Such strategies not only target a limited number of predefined.substances but also facilitate detection of unexpected substances. By combining the use of archive matrices such as feather meal with suspect-screening methods, early detection of new hazards in the food and feed industry can be achieved. Effective application of such strategies is hampered by complex data interpretation and therefore, targeted data analysis is commonly applied. In this study, the performance of a suspect-screening data processing workflow using a suspect list or the online spectral database mzCloudTM was explored to facilitate detection of veterinary drugs in archive matrices. Data evaluation parameters specifically investigated for application of a suspect list were mass tolerance and the addition or omission of retention times. Application of a mass tolerance of 1.5 ppm leads to an increase in the number of false positives, as does omission of retention times in the suspect list. Different acquisition modes yielding different qualities of MS2 data were studied and proved to be a critical factor, where data-dependent acquisition is preferred when matching to the mzCloudTM database. Using this approach, it is possible to search for compounds on a dedicated suspect list based on the exact mass and retention times and, at the same time, detect unexpected compounds without a priori information. A pilot study was conducted and fourteen different antibiotics were detected (and confirmed by MS/MS). Three of these antibiotics were not included in the suspect list. The optimised suspect-screening method proved to be fit for the purpose of finding veterinary drugs in feather meal, which are not in the scope of the current monitoring methods and therefore, it gives added value in the perspective of a risk-based monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-284
JournalFood Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment
Issue number2
Early online date2 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • antibiotics
  • feather meal
  • mzCloud
  • risk-based monitoring
  • Suspect screening


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